Businesses/Employer Q&A

Please read the below Q&A, which includes information from the Government website with advice for businesses.

The Government's advice is: Protect your staff: On Friday 20 March the Chancellor outlined how the Government is doing its best to stand behind you – and asked you to do your best to stand behind your workers. We know the last thing many of you want is to lose your valued staff. Please look at the schemes and advice available to you and consider how you can use them to support your employees in the difficult weeks ahead. This is an essential part of protecting people and protecting the UK economy – and it’s on all of us.

The Government's advice is: The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. It calls for decisive action, at home and abroad, of the kind not normally seen in peacetime. This is why we are doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and mitigate its impact. The overriding objective is to save lives, protect the vulnerable and support the NHS so it can help those who need it the most. Guided by the best scientific advice, with our clear action plan and through looking out for each other, we will rise to this challenge together.

The Government's advice is: Government will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of the scheme with scope to claw back fraudulent or erroneous claims.

The Government's advice is: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with coronavirus or those who are unable to work because they are staying at home in line with Government advice. Individuals are encouraged to use NHS 111 online to get a fit note after 7 days instead of going to the GP, where employers request evidence. Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be eligible for people unable to work because they are directly affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or staying at home according to Government advice from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth.

The Government has introduced a rebate scheme reimbursing SMEs (<250 employees) for up to two weeks per employee of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to coronavirus. Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of Statutory Sick Pay. If an employee is not sick but their employer tells them not to come to work, they should get their usual pay. For example, if someone has returned from China or another affected area and their employer asks them not to come in.

The Government's advice is: Businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their broker or insurer to understand what they are covered for. However, we recognise that many businesses, particularly SMEs, don’t have insurance cover for a pandemic and so we have made cash grants available to help businesses bridge through this period.

The Government's advice is: Businesses should ensure to leave all premises secure with the appropriate level of security surveillance. We would expect companies to have the appropriate insurance.

The Government's advice is: GOV.UK provides advice on business continuity management. The link below provides details on developing your own plan. It includes a Business Continuity Management toolkit to help you identify all the issues you need to consider and how to make your own arrangements to manage business interruption.

The Government's advice is: Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.